4 realistic trade proposals to add size and depth to Cleveland Cavaliers

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The 2023 NBA free agency period gave the Cleveland Cavaliers plenty of new, useful talent. But, with a 11-9 season start, the work is far from over.

Currently, the Cavaliers sit eighth in a top heavy Eastern Conference, a conference in which they were projected to place within the top three. While the Cavs are in the playoff mix, their sporadic lapses in judgement and execution have led to a disappointing start to the 2023-24 campaign.

As it is with every problem for any NBA franchise, the answer is never as simple as one quick fix. Cleveland has yet to play with every player available, and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff has had to implement seven separate starting lineups. Evan Mobley and Max Strus have been the only Cavaliers starters to stay healthy all season.

Solving the Cavaliers' problems

With the majority of the roster available against the Portland Trailblazers, Bickerstaff still opted to play only eight guys in the embarrassing late game collapse that led to a 103-95 loss at home. With these kinds of head scratching moves, the five-year head coach seems to be on the hot seat. Plenty in the fan base see Bickerstaff's continued presence a waste of the Cavs' potential, while others see potential to rework the roster and push forward.

Following the loss, Sports Illustrated reporter Spencer Davies asked Bickerstaff about his perplexing lineup choices.

Bickerstaff's main focus was on the size and skillsets of his healthy players. Off the bench, the Cavaliers employee a 6-foot 4-inches Isaac Okoro, 6-foot 6-inches Caris LeVert, 6-foot Craig Porter, Jr. and 6-foot 8-inches Georges Niang on most nights. With a starting lineup anchored through two big men in Mobley and Jarrett Allen, the drastic drop in size could be concerning at times.

Bickerstaff's odd comments blame the roster composition after the entire offseason was centered around adding shooting and bench depth, but his views may be that adding Strus, Niang, Tristan Thompson and more while only losing Cedi Osman and Lamar Stevens from the rotation is not enough.

While many teams in the NBA have moved to small ball lineups, Bickerstaff repeatedly looks to bigger players to help cover for the undersized backcourt of Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell.

Bickerstaff also mentions the similar roles many of the reserve Cavaliers fill. This comment is a bit more difficult to dissect, as players such as Tristan Thompson and Craig Porter, Jr. fill different roles than the three bench players who made an appearance against Portland. Extending the benefit of doubt for Bickerstaff, though, the best path to improving the team's size and depth is exploring the trade market.

The Cavaliers could look to the trade market

His comments suggest that trades could be in the near future if he does believe that size is the cause of his poor rotations. The rotations might be weakest in the frontcourt, as Niang is the only consistent presence off the bench in that department. Most trades will not take place until after Jan. 15, 2024 or Dec. 15 at the earliest due to restrictions for recently signed players, but once these dates pass, the Cavaliers could be busy by the time the Feburary trade deadline arrives.

The aforementioned divide in the Cavaliers fandom regarding Bickerstaff's job leads this discussion down two different roads. One is looking at alternative coaches who could utilize these existing players better. For that analysis, there are plenty of worthy candidates the Cavaliers could target if Bickerstaff is let go.

For this article, the trade market will be the road the Cavaliers travel. First thing is first, though, who would they trade?